It’s your unique ID – don’t lose the accent

This story appeared in the press at the weekend:

 

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-02-05/motor-neurone-sufferer-given-computer-voice-with-yorkshire-accent/@InterviewCoachM

 

It got me thinking about the importance of voice and accent, and how they shape our identity.

 

So often in coaching I hear the words “I need your help, I don’t like my accent”. But God forbid if they were ever taken away….

 

I know, it’s only human to be self critical – sometimes even downright fashionable- to be seen as self- deprecating rather than confident. As a default position it seems that self-criticism comes really easily to many of us. So when I hear the plea from my client, to rid them of the unique ID that is their accent, I take it as a cue to support them on their own self- acceptance. That includes facing unhelpful thoughts full on, as well as looking for understanding about the nature of the speech to be presented; and of course, a raft of technical exercises to support the actual process of speaking in public, some of which are very likely to be connected to voice production. Very rarely is it the accent per se that is the problem. So next time you take a swipe at yourself via your accent, please remember that for others it is a unique selling point, and make it so for those public speaking and presenting engagements.